Richard Abel is Emeritus Professor of International Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Michigan. He has authored and edited a number of books, including two which belong on the shelf of anyone seriously interested in early film, The Ciné Goes to Town: French Cinema, 1896-1914 (1998) and Encyclopedia of Early Cinema (2010). Other key books include The Sounds of Early Cinema (2001), Americanizing the Movies and “Movie-Mad” Audiences, 1910–1914 (2006), and Flickers of Desire: Movie Stars of the 1910s (2011).
Why am I excited about this new book? Because, it is a film researcher's delight. Even though I am primarily intersted in the films of the 1920's, there is much to be learned from this study focusing on the filmworld of the mid-1910s. In other words, not all that much changed in the way American newspapers covered Hollywood a decade later.
1. The Industry Goes to Town (and Country)
Entr’ acte Local and Regional Newsreels
2. “Newspapers Make Picture-Goers”
Entr’ acte Newspaper Movie Contests
3. “In Movie Land, with the Film Stars”
Entr’acte Cartoons and Comic Strips
4. “Film Girls” and Their Fans in Front of the Screen
Entr’ acte Motion Picture Weeklies
5. Edna Vercoe’s “Romance with the Movies”
“As richly packed as an early twentieth-century Sunday newspaper but infinitely better researched, this is an authoritative and comprehensive account of the connections between newspapers and the movies in the mid-1910s. Blending local close-ups and sweeping nationwide panoramas, Abel offers a richly textured view of emergent film stardom, advertising campaigns, early film criticism, and even fan activities—all crucial aspects of American film culture that were enabled and shaped by the nation’s countless newspapers.”—Gregory A. Waller, editor of Film History and author of Main Street Amusements: Movies and Commercial Entertainment in a Southern City, 1896–1930
“An essential study that provides an urgently needed context for historians of film culture before 1920. Readers will discover how, when, and why newspaper coverage of the movies took the forms it did, as talented newspaperwomen helped national media industries engage varied local audiences. Abel not only identifies and fills a significant gap in the literature but also clears a space for further investigation.”—Mark Cooper, author of Universal Women: Filmmaking and Institutional Change in Early Hollywood